The editors of the hamburg review of social sciences are glad to start off the New Year with a new Volume, presenting theoretical analysis and empirical research on highly relevant topics in contemporary society.
In the first article, Aram Ziai explores how a decade ago and to the astonishment of many, the IMF proposed a Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism, constituting an international insolvency procedure for states. The proposal was rejected by IMF’s executive board. The author discusses the ability of several theoretical approaches (neorealism, institutionalism, neomarxism, and constructivism) to explain the rise and fall of the SDRM proposal in the IMF, thus giving an introduction to competing conceptions of power.
The second article contributes to the European integration theory from the perspective of symbolism. Andreas Gahleitner uses the example of the European Heritage Label to analyze the symbolic construction of the European Union. The author applies four approaches to symbolism of the European Heritage Label, referring to Durkheim’s symbolic emblem, Kristeva’s symbolic order, Hall’s symbolic representation and Bourdieu’s symbolic power.
Peter Ullrich, Stefan Kausch and Sigrun Holze examine changing patterns of modes of governing by analyzing the healthcare politics of the coalition government in Germany (1998 - 2005). The article takes reference from governmentality studies, which describe recent transformations in governing as ambiguously creating more individual freedom as well as more disciplinary forces. The authors show that the government’s healthcare reform measures are geared towards the activation and responsibilisation of insurants, thus producing what the authors call the “healthcare self”.
The fourth article deals with contemporary trends in the labour market, taking Austria as an empirical example. Roland Teitzer explores to what extent temporary employment is taken up, due to the inability to find a permanent job and which population groups are particularly at risk. The author uses descriptive analysis and logistic regression models based on data from the Labour Force Survey 2004-2010 to analyse the relevance and recent trends of so called involuntary temporary employment.
With reference to the German social historian Gerhard Oesterreich, Salvador Santino F. Regilme Jr. re-examines the notions of Social Discipline, Democracy and Modernity, by taking them beyond the euro-centric narratives of modernity. The author embeds his reflexions on central themes of Oesterreich’s work into the broader debate on euro-centrism and “multiple modernities”.
The Volume is completed by a review on Thomas Kliche and Stephanie Thiel: Korruption. Forschungsstand, Prävention, Probleme, written by Matthias Pázmándy.